10 Oct 2014

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 10thOctober 2014:With the nine-month, round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race due to start in Alicante, Spain, on Saturday (October 11) Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s race contender – is all set for the first, 6,400-mile leg to Cape Town, South Africa.


In its Azzam (determination) Volvo 65 yacht, the team will contest the first leg of the race – from Alicante to Cape Town – with ADOR confident the crew and the yacht are in the best of shape.


“The bottom of the boat has never been in better shape so speed hopefully won’t be an issue,” said Shore Team manager Guy Barron. “The last 10 days we’ve been really putting the work in, servicing the boat, making sure everything is in perfect working order.”


Barron leads a team of world-class boat builders, rigging specialists, and technicians who are experts on Azzam’s high tech systems and hardware. While Azzam is racing, Barron and his team will follow the race closely online for any sign of equipment failure.


“It’s nerve-wracking watching the tracker to make sure the boat is not breaking,” Barron says. “If something breaks, you know we won’t be sleeping, we’ll be thinking about it just as much as the sailors onboard.”


And even as Azzam came through the Alicante in-port race with flying colours when it came in a close second, so too did the crew, who were put through their paces by team trainer Pete Cunningham, who flew in from the United States to oversee the daily gym sessions. He also prepared the crew’s nutrition packs for the leg to Cape Town.


Cunningham says the crew is in peak physical shape. “In one-design racing, there’s very little you can change on the boat. But you can make yourself bigger, stronger, fitter, and have the best nutrition. 


“Our aim with the sailors’ training was not for them to lose too much weight. The boys have sailed 19,000 miles in the last three months and yet everybody’s weight has gone up. Hopefully we’ve put on enough so that even if they drop a bit on the Leg, they’re still in good physical shape.”


ADOR skipper Ian Walker’s focus has shifted subtly from preparation mode to race mode. He understands, better than most, that in this new one-design edition, race planning and organisation will determine who makes it to the podium.


“We’ve prepared our bags of spares, our contingency plans if we have breakages, double checked the rules and generally double checked our homework,” he said. “I’ve no nerves yet and I don’t know if I will get nervous - I normally don’t.   


“Everyone has done their job superbly and we are well prepared and ready to go. It won’t be too long now and we’ll be out of here and headed to Cape Town - I can’t wait.”


The 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race begins at 14:00 Alicante time – 16:00 UAE time –  ADOR fans can follow the race on

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